Orbital launching Glory

Taurus XL at Vandenburg - (click to enlarge) -photo credit NASA


Orbital will be launching its Taurus XL rocket tomorrow carrying the NASA satellite Glory. The Taurus XL is a 4 stage rocket comprised of ”XL” (Castor 120 Stage 0, XL-Length Stage 1 and Stage 2) configuration. This configuration provides substantially improved payload to orbit performance.

“The powered flight sequence for the Glory mission will take approximately 13 minutes, from the time the Taurus XL rocket lifts off from the 576-E launch pad at VAFB to the time that the satellite is deployed into orbit. Orbital will launch the 1,164-pound Glory spacecraft into a circular polar orbit approximately 340 nautical miles above the Earth, inclined at 98.2 degrees to the equator. Over the next several weeks, following the initial in-orbit spacecraft check-out procedures, Glory will employ its onboard propulsion system to raise its orbit to 438 nautical miles, where it will join a constellation of other NASA Earth-observing satellites known as the “A-Train” that fly in formation and cross the Equator every afternoon. Glory will be the sixth satellite in the A-Train, joining five other NASA satellites: Aqua, Cloudsat, Calipso, Parasol and Aura.

The Taurus XL rocket will also carry three Cubesats that will be deployed by a Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) mechanism. The Cubesat and P-POD project was developed by California Polytechnic State University to enable the development and deployment of tiny satellites that measure four inches cubed and weigh less than 2.2 pounds. The three Cubesats to be launched aboard the Taurus XL rocket were developed by college students from Montana State University, the University of Colorado and a consortium of several Kentucky universities.” -ORBITAL SCIENCES

Taurus XL rocket is ready to launch Glory from at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the West Coast on Wed, Feb 23 at 5:09 a.m. EST.

UPDATE:The first launch attempt for NASA’s Glory spacecraft was scrubbed for a technical issue. The launch team is posturing for a launch Feb. 24 at 5:09:43 a.m. EST

UPDATE:The first launch attempt for NASA’s Glory spacecraft was scrubbed for a technical issue. The next launch attempt is no earlier than Friday, Feb. 25, at 5:09:43 a.m. EST

UPDATE: March 4th, 2011 – Glory rocket fails to reach orbit – falls back to earth.

“The Glory mission will provide the highly accurate aerosol and solar irradiance measurements that are vital to providing planet models and accurately predicting Earth’s future climate.” -NASA

VIDEO OVERVIEW of Glory Mission

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